Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.

14 MAR 2017

Bus Services Bill

Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about the Bus Services Bill.

I understand you are concerned about the implications for local authorities and their ability to set up bus companies and I hope the following information on this topic from the Department of Transport is of interest:

It is understood that establishing a company for the purposes of operating local bus services may be something that some local authorities would like to do. However, this is not something that has happened for many years, and no local authority has indicated to Ministers that they wish to pursue such a course of action.
Private sector bus operators have been delivering local bus services for the last 30 years and we do not want to lose their experience and know-how. We want to ensure that we get the right balance of local authority knowledge and private sector experience. Local authorities, with their knowledge of the local area, local needs, and controls over other aspects such as local roads and parking policies, are well placed to help shape and influence the services that are provided, with private sector bus operators using their operational experience on the road.
Local authorities have other, more pressing priorities to attend to, and that they should therefore focus on partnership with private operators. The Bill will provide local authorities with a number of opportunities to influence the provision of local bus services in their area, whether through enhanced partnerships or franchising.
There is no doubt that, in a small number of places, municipal bus companies continue to play an important role in the local transport system. However, the creation of further municipal bus companies would stifle the private sector investment that has made such a significant difference. For these reasons the commissioning and provision of services are best kept separate, and that local authorities should not be able to set up new companies to run bus services.

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